Sugar-free may be bitter

On a lazy working afternoon, you bunk work and instead sit back in a chic café and relax, relishing a sugar-free red velvet pastry and a sugar-free macaron with chocolate ganache. The ‘sugar-free’ appendage to these confectionaries has triggered your appetite, letting you to perceive that eating a pastry and a macaron, maybe even two, could do no harm to either your calories or to your blood sugar levels.

But what you’ve perhaps never factored in is what ‘sugar-free’ actually means? And how much of it can you really consume in one go?

Let’s put on our binoculars and decode the ‘sugar-free’ label, and we shall certainly come across artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, neotame, acesulfame potassium-K, or other such outlandishly spelled words. Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes, extracted from herbs or from sugar itself, and are highly intense, since they appear 400-600 times sweeter to the tongue than sugar. And all of these sweetened replacements inflict some harm to the body if their consumption goes unchecked.

1. Artificial sweeteners interfere with the normal functioning of the gut bacteria, preventing them to grow. This can be damaging to health in the long run, as gut microbes are carry a positive impact on digestion and enhance our immunity.

2. Aspartame in particular can cause weight gain, anxiety and depression if consumed in huge quantities and on a frequent basis.

3. Studies indicate that sucralose can alter the glucose and insulin levels in the body.

4. Artificial sweeteners are known to wreak havoc with the body’s natural ability to regulate food intake. They often promote overeating; which in turn precipitates obesity and diabetes.

5. They are known to corrode the enamel and damage your dental health.

It’s therefore better to be prudent while consuming desserts, especially the sugar-free varietals. The next time you visit a bakery, or a café, or a restaurant, think before you leap and reach out to that enticing sugar-free dessert that dots the table.

Eat wise, eat right.

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